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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02408

A thematic analysis investigating the impact of Positive Behavioural Support (PBS) training on the lives of service providers: ‘it makes you think differently’

 R. Stephen Walsh1*, Brain McClean2, Nancy Doyle3,  Suzanne Ryan3, Sammy-Jo Scarbrough-Lang3,  Anna Rishton1 and  Neil Dagnall1
  • 1Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom
  • 2Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, Ireland
  • 3Future Directions CIC, United Kingdom

Positive Behavioural Support (PBS) employs applied behavioural analysis to enhance the quality of life of people who behave in challenging ways. PBS builds on the straightforward and intuitively appealing notion that if people know how to control their environments, they will have less need to behave in challenging ways. Accordingly, PBS focuses on the perspective of those who have behavioural issues, and assesses success via reduction in incidences of challenging behaviours. The qualitative research presented in this report approaches PBS from a different viewpoint and, using thematic analysis, considers the impact of PBS training on the lived experience of staff who deliver services. Thirteen support staff who work for a company supplying social care and supported living services for people with learning disabilities and complex needs in the North West of England took part. Analysis of interviews identified five major themes. These were 1) Training: Enjoyable and useful; 2) Widening of perspective: Different ways of thinking; 3) Increased competence: Better outcomes; 4) Spill over into private lives: increased tolerance in relationships; and 5) Reflecting on practice and moving to a holistic view: ‘I am aware that people…are not just being naughty’. These themes evidenced personal growth on the part of service providers receiving training. Explicitly, participants demonstrated that greater awareness of PBS equipped recipients with a ‘different way of thinking’ and the technical knowledge required to realise this.

Keywords: positive behavioral support, training & development, Thematic analysis, Staff Development, challenging behaviour

Received: 11 Jan 2019; Accepted: 09 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Walsh, McClean, Doyle, Ryan, Scarbrough-Lang, Rishton and Dagnall. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. R. Stephen Walsh, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, United Kingdom,